How Long Will It Take For The Advertising To Work?

Whenever we present an advertising plan to a new client, one of the first questions we hear (right after “How much will it cost”?) is “How long will it take to work?”

It’s a difficult question to answer — some products are impulse buys while others require painstaking research… some people need it now while others won’t buy until they’re ready. Roy Williams, The Wizard of Ads, recently tackled an underrated variable: the quality of the marketing message.

In a recent Monday Morning Memo, Roy had this to say:

Advertisers often ask, “How many times does the average person have to see or hear my message before it will be transferred into the automatic recall part of the mind?” Although this seems like a reasonable question, it’s a little bit like asking, “How many ounces of alcoholic beverage does it take for the average person to get drunk?” We can’t really answer that question until we know whether the “ounces of alcoholic beverage” are beer with 5% alcohol, wine with 14% alcohol, or Scotch with 45% alcohol.
How strong are your ads? The stronger your ads, the fewer times they have to be heard.
Alcohol and marketing

Photo by Didriks

Even then, as Williams points out later in the article, mindshare once attained must be maintained. Williams cites Bob Hoffman’s discussion of Pepsi, who cancelled their TV advertising and replaced it with a social media strategy in 2010. According to Hoffman, the strategy got them millions of Facebook likes… and a 5% loss of market share.

The example I often use is McDonald’s. Wherever I am in the country, I can walk down to my hotel lobby and ask the front desk clerk where McDonald’s is. She won’t ask me who McDonald’s is — she knows what it is, where it is, and what I’ll find when I get there. So does everyone else in town.

And yet, if I return to my hotel room and turn on the TV, I’ll soon see a McDonald’s commercial.

Because Mickey D’s doesn’t want anyone to forget.


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